UPDATE October 2010. Safety by Prada!
Larson Scanner Kit offered by the Evil Mad Science Laboratories (EMSL). We have put together quite a few soldering kits around here and this one is, simply put, the best "learn-to-solder" kit I've ever come across. There are several reasons for this. First off, the instructions are great. Not only are they clear, they leave no uncertainty as to what you need to do at each step, but they are in the form of a comic book, the perfect medium for this kit. This keeps the project light and fun.
Next, the kit is exactly the right depth. The circuit is simple enough to understood by a novice. It's just a controller, 9 LEDs, 9 current limiting resistors to prevent the LEDs from burning out, and a button. It took her about an hour to complete the kit from start to finish.
Which brings me to my next point: it's pretty freaking cool. When she turned it on for the first time, the LEDs began their smooth back and forth scanning. It is smooth because of the dimmer logic in the pre-programmed controller. It was actually a much cooler effect than I had anticipated. The mode button controls the speed of the scan as well as the brightness.
Because the project is open source, if she decides to, she can crack open the code and modify the functionality. What about a school logo POV? EMSL has provided the breakout for in circuit programming, serial communication, and two ports for customization.
The last salient feature I'd like to mention is the cost. At $13 flat, you can't go wrong.